housing

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Fraudulent loan activity declined slightly in Michigan at the end of last year.

Kroll Factual Data checks loan applications for phony buyers, attempts to misrepresent the value of homes and other fraudulent information.

Kroll president Rod Bazzani says there's been a surge in home loan refinancing, which may explain the decline.   He says refinancing more than doubled last year.

“When you understand that statistic, you realize you’re going to have much less fraud in a refinance environment than you would in a purchase loan environment,” says Bazzani.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate is no longer among the nation’s worst.

Realty Trac reports Michigan ranked 16th in the nation in home foreclosures in March.  That is a far cry from a few years ago when the state had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate.

Mary Townley is with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.  She credits the authority’s “Step Forward” program for providing assistance to people at risk of losing their homes…

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home builders are optimistic about the year ahead.

The recession walloped Michigan’s home building industry. Many builders went out of business. Others merged and focused on home remodeling.

But a new survey shows Michigan’s home builders are optimistic about getting back into the business of building new homes. They say pent up consumer demand, especially for more expensive homes ($200,000 to $800,000), is pushing up the Michigan Housing Index.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new report finds three regional cities are good places to buy and rent out single family homes.

A new Realty Trac survey lists Detroit, Saginaw and Toledo among the 20 best markets in the country to own and rent single family homes. Florida cities dominate the rest of the list.

The top 20 are based on the markets with the most potential cash flow and capitalization rates on a 3-bedroom home.

Saginaw ranked second on the survey.  Toledo came in third.  Detroit ranked 15th on the list.  Memphis, Tennessee topped the Realty Trac ranking. 

National Low Income Housing Coalition

The National Low Income Housing Coalition asked the question, "where in America can a low-wage worker afford a two bedroom apartment?"

Their answer:

"Nowhere"

That's "nowhere" assuming the renter is spending no more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.

Ask any financial advisor and they'll tell you that's the general rule of thumb. It's called the 'housing cost burden.'

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Detroit’s real estate market posted some of the strongest price gains in the nation in 2012.

The just released S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index charts home sale prices in the nation’s twenty largest cities.

Detroit home sale prices rose more than 13 percent last year, the third highest percentage increase in the survey.

Craig Lazzara is the head of Index Investment Strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices. He compiled the report. Lazzara says, despite the rise in prices, homes in Detroit are still selling for about what they did in 1997. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate has "plummeted" during the past 24 months, according to a new report.

According to Realty Trac, home foreclosure activity in Michigan dropped about 23 percent last year compared to 2011  and 43 percent compared to 2010.

Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac.  He says Michigan still has one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the nation.

TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) - Fights in a line of several thousand people seeking applications to get on a waiting list for housing vouchers in a Detroit area community forced police to cancel the event.

The Taylor Housing Commission says Saturday in a release that upward of 4,000 people arrived ahead of the 9 a.m. start to get Section 8 voucher applications.

Some people began lining up Friday evening at the Taylor Human Services Building, southwest of Detroit.

The Detroit Free Press reports that four people were arrested for disorderly conduct.

cdc.gov / cdc.gov

Homeless Awareness Week in Michigan is November 10-18. The idea is to highlight the causes of homelessness and the issues that homeless people face. There are events planned in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Port Huron, and other towns.

In Livingston County a group of people will live in their cars for 24 hours and eat only what they can buy with about $5 in food stamps, in order to raise awareness.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home builders are more optimistic now than they’ve been in several years.

A new survey by the Home Builders Association of Michigan shows improving housing starts and other trends give home builders and remodelers hope that they're emerging from the recession.    He says some markets, like Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, are already seeing an increase.

“Trends are all trending upward,” says Robert Filka, the association’s CEO, “We’re very optimistic about the outlook for the industry.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Detroit’s home foreclosure rates are dropping.

Realty Trac reports Detroit now has the 39th highest home foreclosure rate in the country. That's a big change from a few years ago, when Detroit routinely ranked in the top ten.

In September,  Detroit’s home foreclosure rate was at its lowest point since September, 2006. 

Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac.    He says Detroit’s foreclosure numbers are improving, but he says more than half of Wayne County homeowners are ‘underwater” on their mortgages.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate could soon reach a milestone.

A few years ago the state's foreclosure rate was near the top of the fifty state list.

But Daren Bloomquist with Realty Trac says the latest data shows Michigan is poised to drop out of the top ten, possibly by the end of the year.

"It’s still in that top ten…but it’s moving down," says Bloomquist,  "(Michigan) had often been showing up in the top five over the last few years….now it’s moved down to number nine in September.”

Dilapidated homes in Delray near Detroit.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Wayne County has finished the first round of what’s been called the "world's largest property auction."

The county is trying to get rid of more than 22,000 tax-foreclosed properties by auction. More than 20,000 of them are in Detroit.

But despite the glut of vacant properties, housing prices are headed up in certain areas of the city. Bob Dorsey is chief analytics-officer with F.N.C., which tracks housing prices nationwide every month.

"We've noticed that there are certain neighborhoods that have done extremely well, and others that have are still very flat or even declining," said Dorsey.

Dorsey said many investors see money in an expanding rental market in Detroit, and nationwide. Leaders in Detroit’s downtown and midtown areas say housing demand now out-paces supply there.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate continues to trend lower, but a spike in foreclosure filings may be coming this month.

August marked 22  straight months that Michigan’s year over year foreclosure numbers declined.

In fact, the number of foreclosure filings in Michigan in August fell 41 percent compared to August a year ago.   Also, none of the 20 U.S. cities with the highest home foreclosure rates are located in Michigan.

But Daren Bloomquist with Realty Trac says there are signs that the trend may soon end.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s falling home foreclosure rate reached a milestone last month. 

But one analyst expects the second half of the year will see an uptick in homes being repossessed by banks.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate continues to fall dramatically.

Realty Trac reports today foreclosure filings in Michigan fell another 6% last month and are down more than 40% compared to a year ago.

“We’re getting close to now 2 years of a long-term downward trend in Michigan foreclosure activity,” says Daren Bloomquist, who is a Realty Trac vice president.

The White House hosted the LGBT Conference on Housing and Homelessness today in Detroit. It explored various issues lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face when it comes to finding housing or dealing with homelessness. This was one of four such conferences the White House is hosting around the country.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Home sellers in Michigan saw prices drop significantly in the last three months. And one analyst predicts it’s a trend that shows few signs of easing.

Clear Capitol reports Michigan home sale prices between October to January dropped by 5.3 percent compared to a year ago. And the overall trend is even worse.

Alex Villacorta is the director of Research and Analytics at Clear Capitol. He says home sale prices in Detroit were down nearly 12 percent. Villacorta blames the fact that half the homes sold in the Detroit during the last three months had been foreclosed. He says banks sold the repossessed home at discounted prices.

“With more than one in two homes selling as a distressed sale,  it really puts significant downward pressure on home prices," says Villacorta.

Villacorta advises people not to put their homes on the real estate market right now if they don’t have to. But if you're in the market to buy a home, Villacorta has different advice.

“For a buyer, (this is) certainty a fantastic time to buy," says Villacorta, "(With) prices at levels not seen in decades…..with mortgage rates at record low levels it’s a great time to get in.” Villacorta says other markets around the country hit hard by the foreclosure crisis are showing signs of recovery. But not Detroit.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

According to Realty Trac, the number of home foreclosures in Michigan last year dropped to the lowest level since 2007. The actual number of foreclosure filings dropped 26% compared to 2010.   

The decline is partly due to a slowdown in the paperwork process. The average time between the first foreclosure filing and final repossession of a home in Michigan took 283 days last year. That’s a 46% increase over the number of days it took in 2010.  

Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac. He says mortgage lenders will be speeding up the pace of home foreclosures this year.  

"We’re past the peak of the foreclosure crisis in Michigan… but the numbers in 2011 were artificially lower than they should have been," says Bloomquist.  

Michigan had the sixth highest home foreclosure rate in the nation last year with one in every 45 homes receiving a foreclosure notice.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A new report predicts home prices in Detroit will continue to decline. But the report also finds Michigan home prices overall are stabilizing.   

Real estate industry analysts at Clear Capital predict nationally, average home sale prices will remain relatively unchanged in 2012. Prices nationally have been falling since the housing market crash of a few years ago.   

Detroit’s home sale prices have been declining faster than the nationally average and Clear Capital predicts another 5 percent drop this year.    

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